Three Cheers for Local Democracy!

Brilliant news! St Edmundsbury Borough Council has listened to the fears and concerns of  parish councils and campaigners about alerting them when requests are made for an Environmental Impact Assessment screening.

I am chuffed to bits that our campaign has succeeded – congratulations all round to Iona Parker who chairs STOC – Stop Turbines Over Clare – as well as toRichard Evans, Stansfield Parish Council, Judy Wilson who chairs Hawkdeon Parish Council and Peter Stevens, the St Eds Councillor for the Cavendish ward.

I gather a key player in the change of heart at St Eds was the new head of planning St Eds – Steven Wood – so a big thank you to him!

This is the letter sent out from the Borough Council

Dear Chairman/Chairwoman

WEST SUFFOLK STATEMENT OF COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

St Edmundsbury Borough Council has taken a major step towards improving community involvement in helping shape the long term planning of the area while having an improved say in the day to day planning application process of the Council.

Local Planning Authorities are required to develop, with their communities, a strategy for involving communities in the development of local plans and commenting on individual planning applications. On Tuesday, 25 February Borough Councillors adopted its Statement of Community Involvement. During the consultation of this document, Town and Parish Councils made suggestions on how the strategy could be strengthened and right up to the Council meeting, on Tuesday, changes were being suggested. The final one of these changes was to do with Environmental Impact Assessments and making sure interested people and communities were informed when a request for such an assessment was received.

Town and Parishes were keen to ensure they had the earliest opportunity to be aware of these requests. These requests sometimes are associated with controversial schemes, like wind and solar farms. Conscious of needing to respond positively to the new challenges in the planning process, the Borough Council agreed to alert Local Ward members and Town and Parish Councils as soon as a request for an Environmental impact assessment is received.

The whole of West Suffolk will have the same commitment to community involvement which will be managed by our joint planning team headed by Steven Wood, the recently appointed Head of Planning and Regularity Services.

 With his team and Ward members, Steven will be attending Parish Forums and individual Parish and Town meetings giving you an opportunity to put your questions and concerns to the team.

Yours sincerely